________________ CM . . . . Volume XV Number 19 . . . . May 15, 2009

cover Bubba Begonia, You've Done It Again.

Gerry O'Brien. Illustrated by Dale McNevin.
Charlottetown, PE: The Acorn Press, 2008.
87 pp., pbk., $7.95.
ISBN 978-1-894838-36-8.

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-10.

Review by Lisa O'Hara.

**** /4

Gerry O'Brien has written a third book featuring Bubba Begonia, much to the delight of readers of the first two. Bubba is back, along with all his friends and family, and he is excited about starting a new school year. He is confident that he won't have the same problem as last year because, as he says to his little sister, "I've got a million friends and Miss Pimple is going to be my teacher again! I'm as happy as a pile of pigs!" However, when he gets to school, he and the other children find that things have changed and Mr. Zitmeister is no longer the principal; he's the hall mopper and toilet bowl cleaner. Even worse, Miss Pimple won't be teaching them; instead, she is working in the cafeteria! Their new teacher is Miss Whackenbash whose scary demeanour is enough to make even the bravest student stick his finger up his nose:

Her head almost touched the ceiling. Mean snakey eyes glared from a pale white face. A long pointy nose was perched above skinny blue lips and muddy yellow teeth.

She stared down at the gaping students. "You are the ugliest bunch of kids I've ever seen," she snorted. "Do you take ugly pills every morning?"

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     She shows no mercy to the children, assigning them the task of copying their dictionaries as homework the first day. When Margo cries that she wants a new teacher, Miss Whackenbash replies:

"You can have a new teacher
You can have one soon.
Just guess my secret
By Friday at noon!
If you find it, I'll be gone in a flash.
You'll see the end of Miss Whackenbash.
But if you fail, let it be understood,
Miss Whackenbash will be here for good!
Ha ha, ha ha, ha!"

     Bubba and his friends decide that they have to take action, and they call on Mayor Moneypie to come and get rid of Miss Whackenbush. Margo offers to bake a Jelly Bean Surprise Cake to sweeten her up. However, Miss Whackenbush is not afraid of the mayor, and she throws him out the window. Margo's cake is kicked into the ceiling fan, and Miss Whackenbash assigns the class the task of answering every question in their math books. Over the next few days, the class recruits Officer Pinchkiddy, who meets the same fate as the mayor, and they try giving Miss Whackenbash a peanut butter sandwich that gets dumped on Rad Chad's head. They try to get Punchy McKnuckle to get rid of her, but he gets pinned by the Snotkin, Miss Whackenbash's plant and food source. They try stealing a lock of Miss Whackenbash's hair and her red shoes (like the Wicked Witch of the West's shoes in The Wizard of Oz), neither of which work but both of which result in terrible punishments. Things are looking very grim for Bubba and his classmates at 11:59 on Friday when his little sister Becky comes to visit his class. I won't give away the ending, but readers are sure to be pleased.

     Once again, Dale McNevin's illustrations are just as entertaining as the story, and this book is sure to be popular with readers in the age group.

Highly Recommended.

Lisa O'Hara is a librarian and mother of three school-aged children in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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